Russia’s attack on Ukraine has gone badly for Vladimir Putin. What was expected to be a successful invasion in a matter of days has gone on for more than three weeks. Russia has failed to achieve air superiority and its army appears more of a paper tiger. Despite this aggression, Europe likely has less of a reason to fear Russia than they did at the start of the year. It’s their nuclear weapons that keeps the rest of the world from shutting this down.
In the meantime, as the Ukranians struggle to fend off Russian advances, aggressor forces have become increasingly desperate and brutal.
Blood on the main square of Kherson. Looks like Russian occupation forces opened fire at a peaceful protest, after dispersing previous ones by shooting in the air and throwing flash-bangs. pic.twitter.com/PdGjoEvEQF
— Yaroslav Trofimov (@yarotrof) March 21, 2022
— WhereisRussiaToday🌻 (@WhereisRussia) March 21, 2022
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) March 21, 2022
By some estimates, with normal life in Ukraine – especially more economically significant Eastern part of the country – grinding to a halt, GDP is by some estimates down by a third. Against this backdrop, Ukraine International Airlines is promoting an opportunity to keep itself afloat and its employees working – and in safety.
The nation’s flag carrier, based at Boryspil International Airport, is marketing ‘wet leases’ of its grounded fleet. That means they’re working to have airlines around the world pay them to use their aircraft staffed by Ukraine International Airlines crew. According to the airline,
UIA now has the opportunity to offer airlines and partners to join the economic support of Ukraine, taking advantage of the availability of UIA aircraft for charter and humanitarian flights outside Ukraine and concluding “wet leasing” agreements.
Currently Ukraine International Airlines flights are officially grounded through April 15, 2022 but the continuation of fighting makes it likely that a more extended grounding will be required – and that the airline will not immediately be able to resume full operations once it does re-commence commercial service.
The airline’s fleet consists of 16 Boeing 737s (12 -800s and 4 -900ERs) and 2 Boeing 767-300ERs as well as 5 Embraer 190s and 2 Embraer 195s.
Despite a lack of aircraft and even insufficient flight attendants and pilots, U.S. carriers will generally not be able to take advantage of this opportunity due to union contracts (‘scope clauses’) which limit the operation of flights by employees outside of their unions. These restrictions should be suspended during the Ukraine emergency for national security reasons.
“Yes, Ukraine was beautiful. But now it will become great.”
We will win.
There will be new cities.
There will be new dreams.
There will be a new story.
There will be, there’s no doubt.
And those we've lost will be remembered.
And we will sing again, and we will celebrate anew.#Ukraine #всебудеУкраїна #героямслава pic.twitter.com/j6wkvAbr2q
— Fly UIA (@fly_uia) March 20, 2022